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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Tabletopia – the future of tabletop gaming?

Some exciting news from the world of tabletop gaming. A new digital board game client has come onto the scene, boasting all manner of features and a slick 3D presentation as of yet unseen in the industry.

This is stirring news for both gamers and designers, as the Tabletopia system will allow people to play game currently available on the market (we’re talking big names here including the hotness of Imperial Settlers and Nations) but with a designer subscription you’ll be able to design your own prototypes and apparently even monetise your publisher brand!

Some big proclamations right off the bat!

A quick goosey through the Kickstarter page lists a lot of cool stuff they promise Tabletopia will be able to provide, including:
– automatic game setups, card dealing, drafting etc.
– player’s turn control, timers, game phases indication
– interactive zones on the table with predefined automatic actions
– intelligent counters for tracking victory points and many other in-game parameters
– custom surfaces, game room wallpapers, sound effects advanced camera controls and a plethora of tokens and meeples to play with

It also looks very, very cool! From Rahdo’s vid, you can see how intuitive the gaming is, with easy-use quick menus, simple multi-selects of components and the frankly amazing snap-to feature that prevents meeples and cards sitting in awkward places on the board. The use of actual artwork from the analogue version of the game (if you don’t include the Samurai game in the video!) just adds to the immersion players can experience during play.

But it’s not all sunshine. Tabletopia has no AI, which isn’t a deal breaker by any means but does mean you need to own or have access to the rulebook to play anything. There’s also the matter of the subscription fee; if you want all the bells and whistles your going to need to pay 20 bucks (around £13 for us Englanders) a month and if your part of a design team that each need their own subs, the costs would quickly rack up.

I guess the big question for me though is the obvious one; will it replace or take over the majority of my gaming and prototyping? I’m afraid I have to wish-wash my answer and say I don’t know. Since becoming a father, my free time has been limited and being able to play a board game or chuck together a new card game design whilst sat on my tablet at the end of an evening seems like an awesome thing. However, what always attracts me to a game is the feel of the cards or chits in my hand, the richness of the artwork and the comradely chats possible has when sat at the table with my buddies.

Just a few of the games already available.

Plus, who doesn’t love the feeling of buying a new game, ferreting it home and cracking that seal. The visceral experience, that tactility can never be replicated by digital games and I think I’d miss it.

So I reckon I’ll check it out as I love me a bit of innovation and it’s shaping up to be a great tool. Gaming and designing anywhere at any time, who doesn’t want that!

Bevan Clatworthy
Bevan Clatworthy
An avid board and card gamer, this displaced Cornishman has spent way too much time playing games and skulking around his local hobby shops. He later escaped to Swindon, the land of roundabouts, where he currently designs games whilst infecting those who stand still too long with his gaming lurgy.

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